Revolution (Beatles song)
B-side label of original UK release
|Single by the Beatles|
|Released||26 August 1968|
|Recorded||9–13 July 1968|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
|The Beatles singles chronology|
Cover of the Northern Songs sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||30–31 May, 4, 21 June 1968|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
"Revolution" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Three versions of the song were recorded in 1968, all during sessions for the Beatles' self-titled double album, also known as "the White Album": a slow, bluesy arrangement (titled "Revolution 1") that would make the final cut for the LP; an abstract sound collage (titled "Revolution 9") that originated as the latter part of "Revolution 1" and appears on the same album; and the faster, hard rock version similar to "Revolution 1", released as the B-side of the "Hey Jude" single. Although the single version was issued first, it was recorded several weeks after "Revolution 1", as a remake specifically intended for release as a single.
Inspired by political protests in early 1968, Lennon's lyrics expressed sympathy with the need for change but doubt in regard to some of the tactics. When the single version was released in August, the political left viewed it as betraying their cause. The release of "Revolution 1" in November indicated Lennon's uncertainty about destructive change, with the phrase "count me out" recorded instead as "count me out – in". Although Lennon subsequently espoused the need for Maoist political revolution, particularly with his 1971 single "Power to the People", in one of the final interviews he gave before his death in 1980 he reaffirmed the pacifist sentiments expressed in "Revolution". In 1987, the song became the first Beatles recording to be licensed for a television commercial, which prompted a lawsuit from the surviving members of the group.
- 1 Background and composition
- 2 Recording
- 3 Release
- 4 Promotional film
- 5 Critical reception
- 6 Cultural responses
- 7 Use in Nike advertisement
- 8 Personnel
- 9 Chart performance
- 10 Cover versions
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Background and composition
In early 1968, media coverage in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive spurred increased protests in opposition to the Vietnam War, especially among university students. The protests were most prevalent in the United States, but on 17 March, 25,000 demonstrators marched to the American embassy in London's Grosvenor Square and violently clashed with police. Major protests concerning other political issues made international news, such as the March 1968 protests in Poland against their communist government, and the campus uprisings of May 1968 in France. The upheaval reflected the increased politicisation of the 1960s youth movement and the rise of New Left ideology, in a contrast with the hippie ideology behind the 1967 Summer of Love. For these students and activists, the Maoist philosophy of cultural revolution, purging society of its non-progressive elements, provided a model for social change.
By and large, the Beatles had avoided publicly expressing their political views in their music, with "Taxman" being their only overtly political track thus far. Viewed as leaders of the counterculture, the band – particularly John Lennon – were under pressure from Leninist, Trotskyist and Maoist groups to actively support the revolutionary cause. Lennon decided to write a song about the recent wave of social upheaval while the Beatles were in Rishikesh, India, studying Transcendental Meditation. He recalled, "I thought it was about time we spoke about it, the same as I thought it was about time we stopped not answering about the Vietnamese war [in 1966]. I had been thinking about it up in the hills in India." Lennon began writing the song there and completed it in England in May.
Despite Lennon's antiwar feelings, he had yet to become anti-establishment, and expressed in "Revolution" that he wanted "to see the plan" from those advocating toppling the system. In author Mark Hertsgaard's description, the lyrics advocate social change but emphasise that "political actions [should] be judged on moral rather than ideological grounds". The repeated phrase "it's gonna be alright" came directly from Lennon's Transcendental Meditation experiences in India, conveying the idea that God would take care of the human race no matter what happened politically. Another influence on Lennon was his burgeoning relationship with avant-garde artist Yoko Ono; Ono attended the recording sessions, and participated in the unused portion of "Revolution 1" which evolved into "Revolution 9".
Around the fourth week of May 1968, the Beatles met at Kinfauns, George Harrison's home in Esher, to demonstrate their compositions to each other in preparation for recording their next studio album. A bootleg recording from that informal session shows that "Revolution" had two of its three verses intact. The lines referencing Mao Zedong – "But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao / You ain't gone make it with anyone anyhow" – were added in the studio. While filming a promotional clip later that year, Lennon told the director that it was the most important lyric in the song.
The Beatles began the recording sessions for their new album on 30 May, starting with "Revolution 1" (simply titled "Revolution" for the first few sessions). At this first session, they concentrated on recording the basic rhythm track. Take 18 lasted 10:17, much longer than the earlier takes, and it was this take that was chosen for additional overdubs recorded over the next two sessions. The full take 18 was officially released in 2018, as part of the Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles coinciding with the album's fiftieth anniversary.
During overdubs which brought the recording to take 20, Lennon took the unusual step of performing his lead vocal while lying on the floor. He also altered one line into the ambiguous "you can count me out, in". He later explained that he included both because he was undecided in his sentiments. The appended "in" did not appear on the lyric sheet included with the original album.
"Revolution 1" has a blues style, performed at a relaxed tempo. The electric guitar heard in the intro shows a blues influence, and the "shoo-bee-do-wop" backing vocals are a reference to doo-wop music. The basic time signature is 12
8 (or 4
4 in a "shuffle" style), but the song has several extra half-length bars during the verses. There are also two extra beats at the end of the last chorus, the result of an accidental bad edit during the mixing process that was left uncorrected at Lennon's request.
Low-quality monitor mixes of the full-length version of "Revolution" appeared on various bootlegs, such as From Kinfauns to Chaos, throughout the 1990s. In 2009, a high-quality version labelled "Revolution Take 20" appeared on the bootleg CD Revolution: Take ... Your Knickers Off! The release triggered considerable interest among the media and fans of the group. This version, RM1 (Remix in Mono #1) of take 20, runs to 10 minutes 46 seconds (at the correct speed) and was created at the end of the 4 June session, with a copy taken away by Lennon.[better source needed] It was an attempt by Lennon to augment the full-length version of "Revolution" in a way that satisfied him before he chose to split the piece between the edited "Revolution 1" and the musique concrète "Revolution 9".
The bootlegged recording starts with engineer Geoff Emerick announcing the remix as "RM1 of Take ..." and then momentarily forgetting the take number, which Lennon jokingly finishes with "Take your knickers off and let's go", hence the name of the bootleg CD. The first half of the recording is almost identical to the released track "Revolution 1". It lacks the electric guitar and horn overdubs of the final version, but features two tape loops in the key of A (same as the song) that are faded in and out at various points.[better source needed] After the final chorus, the song launches into an extended coda similar to that in "Hey Jude". (The album version only features about 40 seconds of this coda.) Beyond the point where the album version fades out, the basic instrumental backing keeps repeating while the vocals and overdubs become increasingly chaotic: Harrison and Paul McCartney repeatedly sing "dada, mama" in a childlike register; Lennon's histrionic vocals are randomly distorted in speed (a little of this can be heard in the fade of "Revolution 1"); and radio tuning noises à la "I Am the Walrus" appear. Several elements of this coda appear in the officially released "Revolution 9". Throughout the body of that song, Lennon's histrionic vocal track periodically appears (albeit minus the speed distortion), as do the tape loops.
After the band track ends, the song moves into avant-garde territory, with Yoko Ono reciting some prose over a portion of the song "Awal Hamsa" by Farid al-Atrash (possibly captured live from the radio). Ono's piece begins with the words "Maybe, it's not that ...", with her voice trailing off at the end; Harrison jokingly replies, "It is 'that'!" As the piece continues, Lennon quietly mumbles "Gonna be alright" a few times. Then follows a brief piano riff, some comments from Lennon and Ono on how well the track has preceded, and final appearances of the tape loops.[better source needed] Most of this coda was lifted for the end of "Revolution 9", with a little more piano at the beginning (which monitor mixes reveal was present in earlier mixes of "Revolution") and minus Lennon's (or Harrison's) joking reply.
Splitting of "Revolution 1" and "Revolution 9"
Lennon soon decided to divide the existing ten-minute recording into two parts: a more conventional Beatles track and an avant-garde sound collage. Within days after take 20, work began on "Revolution 9" using the last six minutes of the take as a starting point. Numerous sound effects, tape loops, and overdubs were recorded and compiled over several sessions almost exclusively by Lennon and Ono, although Harrison provided assistance for spoken overdubs. With more than 40 sources used for "Revolution 9", only small portions of the take 20 coda are heard in the final mix; most prominent from take 20 are Lennon's multiple screams of "right" and "alright", and around a minute near the end featuring Ono's lines up to "you become naked".
On 21 June, the first part of take 20 received several overdubs and became officially titled "Revolution 1". The overdubs included a lead guitar line by Harrison and a brass section of two trumpets and four trombones. Final stereo mixing was completed on 25 June. The final mix that would ultimately be included on the "White Album" included the hurried announcement of "take two" by Geoff Emerick at the beginning of the song.
Lennon wanted "Revolution 1" to be the next Beatles single, but McCartney was reluctant to invite controversy, and argued along with Harrison that the track was too slow for a single. Lennon persisted, and rehearsals for a faster and louder remake began on 9 July. Recording started the following day. Writing in 2014, music journalist Ian Fortnam paired "Revolution" with the White Album track "Helter Skelter" as the Beatles' two "proto-metal experiment[s]" of 1968.
The song begins with "a startling machine-gun fuzz guitar riff", according to music critic Richie Unterberger, with Lennon and Harrison's guitars prominent throughout the track.[nb 1] The distorted sound was achieved by direct injection of the guitar signal into the mixing console. Emerick later explained that he routed the signal through two microphone preamplifiers in series while keeping the amount of overload just below the point of overheating the console. This was such a severe abuse of the studio equipment that Emerick thought, "If I was the studio manager and saw this going on, I'd fire myself." Lennon overdubbed the opening scream, and double-tracked some of the words "so roughly that its careless spontaneity becomes a point in itself", according to author Ian MacDonald.
"Revolution" was performed in a higher key, B♭ major, compared to the A major of "Revolution 1". The "shoo-bee-do-wop" backing vocals were omitted in the re-make, and an instrumental break was added. "Revolution" was given a climactic end, as opposed to the fade out of "Revolution 1". For this version, Lennon unequivocally sang "count me out". An electric piano overdub by Nicky Hopkins was added on 11 July, with final overdubs on 13 July and mono mixing on 15 July.
"Revolution" was issued as the B-side of the "Hey Jude" single on 26 August 1968 in the US, with the UK release taking place on 30 August. Having sought to reassert his leadership of the Beatles over McCartney, Lennon reluctantly agreed to have the song demoted to a B-side.[nb 2] The single was the band's first release on their EMI-distributed Apple record label and was one of the four records that were sent in gift-wrapped boxes, marked "Our First Four", to Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family, and to Harold Wilson, the British prime minister. According to music journalist Jim Irvin, the heavily distorted sound of "Revolution" led some record buyers to return their copies, in the belief that "there was bad surface noise" on the disc. Irvin recalled of his own experience: "The exasperated [shop] assistant explained, for the umpteenth time that Saturday, 'It's supposed to sound like that. We've checked with EMI ...'"
"Hey Jude" topped sales charts around the world, while "Revolution" was a highly popular B-side. In the US, where each side of a single continued to be listed individually, it peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 11 on the Cash Box Top 100, and number 2 on Record World's chart. The latter peak was achieved while "Hey Jude" was at number 1. The single was listed as a double-sided number 1 in Australia, while "Revolution" topped New Zealand's singles chart for one week, following "Hey Jude"'s five-week run at number 1 there.
"Revolution 1" was released on The Beatles on 22 November 1968. It was the opening track on side four of the LP, four spots ahead of the companion piece "Revolution 9". In an interview following the album's release, Harrison said that "Revolution 1" "has less attack and not as much revolution" as the single B-side, and described it as "the Glen Miller version".
Like "Hey Jude", "Revolution" made its LP debut on the 1970 US compilation album Hey Jude, which was also the first time that the song was available in stereo. Lennon disliked the stereo mix, saying in a 1974 interview that the mono mix of "Revolution" was a "heavy record" but "then they made it into a piece of ice cream!" The song was released on subsequent compilations, including 1967–1970 and Past Masters. It was remixed for the 2006 soundtrack album Love, appearing in full length on the DVD-Audio version and as a shortened edit on other versions.
Filming for promotional clips of "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" took place on 4 September 1968 under the direction of Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Two finished clips of "Revolution" were produced, with only lighting differences and other minor variations. The Beatles sang the vocals live over the pre-recorded instrumental track from the single version. Their vocals included elements from "Revolution 1": McCartney and Harrison sang the "shoo-bee-doo-wap" backing vocals, and Lennon sang "count me out, in". Authors Bruce Spizer and John Winn each describe the performance as "exciting". According to Spizer, it "combines the best elements of the album and single versions", while Hertsgaard writes that, two years after the band had retired from public performances, the clip proved that "the Beatles could rock with the best of them".
Lindsay-Hogg recalled of the Beatles' approach to their promotion films: "Society was changing and music was in the vanguard. The appearance of the musicians, their clothes, hair, their way of talking was stirring the pot of social revolution." For Lennon, his absorption in a romantic and creative partnership with Ono was reflected in a change of appearance and image. In Fortnam's description, a "lean, mean demeanour" had replaced Lennon's "moptop-era puppy fat", while Hertsgaard says the clip presented him as "a serious longhair ... his center-parted locks falling down to his shoulders, and both his vocals and his subject matter further underlined how far he had traveled since the moptop days". Lindsay-Hogg recalled that before filming "Revolution", Lennon looked the worse for wear, yet he turned down a suggestion that he apply some stage makeup to make him appear healthier. Lennon reasoned, "Because I'm John Lennon" – a point Lindsay-Hogg cites as demonstrating that "They had a very different attitude to most stars. They were authentic, they weren't characters in a fiction." In the clip, Lennon plays his Epiphone Casino guitar, which he had recently stripped back from its sunburst pattern to a plain white finish. MacDonald says this gesture was partly indicative of Lennon's desire for "deglamourised frankness" and that the song inaugurates Lennon's adoption of the "stripped Casino" as a "key part of his image".
While the "Hey Jude" clip debuted on David Frost's show Frost on Sunday, on the ITV network, the "Revolution" clip was first broadcast on the BBC1 programme Top of the Pops on 19 September 1968. The first US screening of "Revolution" was on the 6 October broadcast of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The latter show was frequently subjected to censorship by its network, CBS, for its anti-establishment views, particularly on the Vietnam War and the then US president-elect, Richard Nixon. In choosing The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour over more mainstream shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles ensured that their single reached an audience aligned with countercultural ideology.[nb 3]
In his contemporary review of the single, for Melody Maker, Chris Welch praised the A-side, saying it was a track that took severals listens before its full appeal became evident, but he dismissed "Revolution" as "a fuzzy mess, and best forgotten". More impressed, Derek Johnson of the NME described "Revolution" as "unashamed rock 'n' roll" but "a cut above the average rock disc, particularly in the thoughtful and highly topical lyric", and "a track that literally shimmers with excitement and awareness". Johnson concluded by stating that the two sides "prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Beatles are still streets ahead of their rivals". Cash Box's reviewer described "Revolution" as "straight-out rock with lyrical flavor of a pre-Revolver feel and fifties-rock instrumentation", adding: "More commercial at first few hearings, but hardly able to stand up against 'Hey Jude.'"
Dave Marsh included "Revolution" in his 1989 book covering the 1001 greatest singles, describing it as a "gem" with a "ferocious fuzztone rock and roll attack" and a "snarling" Lennon vocal. In 2006, Mojo placed "Revolution" at number 16 on its list of "The 101 Greatest Beatles Songs". In his commentary for the magazine, Pete Shelley of the punk band the Buzzcocks recalled that he had never heard such distorted guitar sounds before, and hearing the song was his "eureka moment" when he decided he wanted to be in a band. The track was ranked at number 13 in a similar list compiled by Rolling Stone in 2010. In his song review for AllMusic, Richie Unterberger calls "Revolution" one of the Beatles' "greatest, most furious rockers" with "challenging, fiery lyrics" where the listener's "heart immediately starts pounding before Lennon goes into the first verse".
The single's release coincided with violent scenes at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where police and National Guardsmen were filmed clubbing Vietnam War protestors. The counterculture's reaction to "Revolution" was informed by these events and by Soviet tanks invading Czechoslovakia, which marked the return of communist oppression there and the end of the Prague Spring. The song prompted immediate responses from the New Left and counterculture press, commencing a political discourse that continued into mid 1970. Ramparts branded it a "betrayal" and the Berkeley Barb likened it to "the hawk plank adopted this week in the Chicago convention of the Democratic Death Party". In Britain, the New Left Review derided the song as "a lamentable petty bourgeois cry of fear", while Black Dwarf said it showed the Beatles to be "the consciousness of the enemies of the revolution". The far left contrasted "Revolution" with a song by the Rolling Stones that was inspired by similar events and released around the same time: "Street Fighting Man" was perceived to be more supportive of their cause. Challenged on his political stance, Lennon exchanged open letters with British radical John Hoyland. Oz editor Richard Neville later described this exchange as "a classic New Left/psychedelic Left dialogue" that was widely syndicated in the underground press.
Other commentators on the left applauded the Beatles for rejecting radicalism governed by hatred and violence, and for advocating "pacifist idealism". Among these, a writer for the New Left Students for a Democratic Society's newspaper at Cornell University stated that "You can argue about effectiveness of non-violence as a tactic, but it would be absurd to claim that it is a conservative notion ... The Beatles want to change the world, and they are doing what they can." With the release of "Revolution 1" three months after the single, some student radicals – unaware of the chronology of the recordings – welcomed the "count me out, in" lyric as a sign that Lennon had partly retracted his objection to Maoist revolution. The far right remained suspicious of the Beatles, saying they were moderate subversives who, in Ian MacDonald's description, were "warning the Maoists not to 'blow' the revolution by pushing too hard". The John Birch Society's magazine cited "Revolution", together with McCartney's White Album track "Back in the U.S.S.R.", as further evidence of the group's supposed "pro-Soviet" sentiments. Time magazine devoted an article to discussing "Revolution", the first time in the magazine's history that it had done so for a pop song. The writers said the song was "exhilarating hard rock" directed at "radical activists the world over", and that its message would "surprise some, disappoint others, and move many: cool it".
– Statement made by Lennon in 1980 about how "Revolution" still stood as an expression of his politics
Rock critics also entered the debate. Greil Marcus commented that political detractors of "Revolution" had overlooked the "message" of the music, "which is more powerful than anyone's words". He added: "There is freedom and movement in the music even as there is sterility and repression in the lyrics. The music doesn't say 'cool it' or 'don't fight the cops' ... the music dodges the message and comes out in front."[nb 4] Writing in The Village Voice, Robert Christgau urged calm from detractors yet also said: "It is puritanical to expect musicians, or anyone else, to hew to the proper line. But it is reasonable to request that they not go out of their way to oppose it. Lennon has, and it takes much of the pleasure out of their music for me." Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone wholeheartedly supported the Beatles, saying that any accusations of "revolutionary heresy" were "absurd", since the band were being "absolutely true to their identity as it has evolved through the last six years". In his review of the White Album, Wenner added: "Rock and roll has indeed become a style and a vehicle for changing the system. But one of the parts of the system to be changed is 'politics' and this includes 'new Left' politics." Discussing these comments in his 2007 book on the 1960s counterculture, There's a Riot Going On, Peter Doggett says that Christgau's reference to a "proper line" bore an uncomfortable similarity with the "artistic culture of Stalin's Russia", while Wenner's claim that the Beatles were merely being consistent with their previous views was "exactly the problem" for the New Left.
Lennon was stung by the criticism he received from the New Left. Having campaigned for world peace with Ono throughout 1969, he began to embrace radical politics after undergoing primal therapy in 1970. In a conversation with British activist Tariq Ali in January 1971, he said of "Revolution": "I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution."[nb 5] Lennon then wrote "Power to the People" in an attempt to atone for the perceived apathy of "Revolution", and instead sung: "You say you want a revolution / We better get it on right away." In 1972, Lennon said about "Revolution", "I should have never put that in about Chairman Mao". Lennon subsequently disowned the pro-revolution message of "Power to the People", however, saying it was a "guilt song". In 1994, with reference to Lennon's comments in 1980 that he still wished to "see the plan" for any proposed revolution, MacDonald wrote: "Tiananmen Square, the ignominious collapse of Soviet communism, and the fact that most of his radical persecutors of 1968–70 now work in advertising have belatedly served to confirm his original instincts."
Use in Nike advertisement
In 1987, "Revolution" became the first Beatles recording to be licensed for use in a television commercial.[nb 6] Nike paid $500,000 for the right to use the song for one year, split between recording owner Capitol-EMI and song publisher ATV Music Publishing (owned by Michael Jackson). Commercials using the song started airing in March 1987.
The three surviving Beatles, through their company Apple Corps, filed a lawsuit in July objecting to Nike's use of the song. The suit was aimed at Nike, its advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy,[nb 7] and Capitol-EMI Records. Capitol-EMI said the lawsuit was groundless because they had licensed the use of "Revolution" with the "active support and encouragement of Yoko Ono Lennon, a shareholder and director of Apple". Ono had expressed approval when the ad was released, saying it was "making John's music accessible to a new generation". Many fans were incensed at Jackson and Ono for exploiting the Beatles' work. In November, Harrison explained his position:
If it's allowed to happen, every Beatles song ever recorded is going to be advertising women's underwear and sausages. We've got to put a stop to it in order to set a precedent. Otherwise it's going to be a free-for-all. It's one thing when you're dead, but we're still around! They don't have any respect for the fact that we wrote and recorded those songs, and it was our lives.
The "Revolution" lawsuit and others involving the Beatles and EMI were settled out of court in November 1989, with the terms kept secret. The financial website TheStreet.com included the Nike "Revolution" advertisement campaign in its list of the 100 key business events of the 20th century, as it helped "commodify dissent".
According to Ian MacDonald:
- John Lennon – vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – bass guitar, Hammond organ, handclaps
- George Harrison – lead guitar, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
- Nicky Hopkins – electric piano
- John Lennon – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, lead guitar
- Paul McCartney – bass guitar, piano, Hammond organ, backing vocals
- George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Derek Watkins, Freddy Clayton – trumpets
- Don Lang, Rex Morris, J. Power, Bill Povey – trombones
|Australian Go-Set National Top 40||1|
|New Zealand Listener Chart||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||12|
|US Cash Box Top 100||11|
|US Record World 100 Top Pops||2|
|Single by Thompson Twins|
|from the album Here's to Future Days|
|B-side||"The Fourth Sunday"|
|Released||29 November 1985|
|Format||7- and 12-inch vinyl|
|Producer(s)||Nile Rodgers, Tom Bailey|
|Thompson Twins singles chronology|
The English pop band Thompson Twins recorded "Revolution" for their 1985 album Here's to Future Days, which was co-produced by Nile Rodgers. On 13 July that year, in advance of the album's release, the band performed the song with Rodgers, Madonna and guitarist Steve Stevens at the concert held at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia that formed the US part of Live Aid. The concert was watched by a television audience estimated at 1.5 billion and raised $80 million for African famine relief. In a 2017 interview, Thompson Twins singer Tom Bailey said that, having grown up in the 1960s when music was "about social change and making the world a better place", he now believed that it had become "tamed by the corporate world" and Live Aid represented "the last great moment of rock and roll fist waving for change".
"Revolution" was one of three tracks on Here's to Future Days to feature Stevens on guitar and was first released in September 1985. It was subsequently issued as a single, backed by the non-album instrumental "The Fourth Sunday". The band made a promotional video for the single, directed by Meiert Avis. The song peaked at number 56 on the UK Singles Chart, spending five weeks on the chart. In 2004, the Live Aid performance of the song was included on the four-disc DVD release from the event.
|New Zealand Singles Chart||43|
|UK Singles Chart||56|
|Single by Stone Temple Pilots|
|Released||27 November 2001|
|Producer(s)||Stone Temple Pilots|
|Stone Temple Pilots singles chronology|
In October 2001, Stone Temple Pilots performed "Revolution" live during Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music, a television special in tribute to Lennon that raised funds for victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Singer Scott Weiland said that the band had selected the song while on tour in Europe, several weeks before Come Together; he added: "Our real decision for picking 'Revolution' was simply because it rocks." After their performance received considerable radio airplay, Stone Temple Pilots recorded a studio version of the song, which was released as a CD single on 27 November 2001. The single reached number 30 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
- Music critic Tim Riley describes Lennon's opening guitar figure as a musical quote from "Do Unto Others", a 1954 song by Pee Wee Crayton.
- In his December 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon said "Hey Jude" was worthy of an A-side, "but we could have had both." In 1980, he told Playboy he still disagreed with the decision.
- The "Revolution" promo clip is included in the three-disc versions, titled 1+, of the Beatles' 2015 video compilation 1.
- Marcus was demonstrating in Berkeley during the weekend of the convention in Chicago. He recalled of the contrasting messages in "Revolution" and "Street Fighting Man": "[The Beatles] were ordering us to pack up and go home, but the Stones seem to be saying that we were lucky if we had a fight to make and a place to take a stand."
- In his Rolling Stone interview with Wenner, later published in book form as Lennon Remembers, he said: "I really thought ... that love would save us all. But now I'm wearing a Chairman Mao badge, so that's where it's at."
- A cover version of "Help!" had been used two years earlier in a Lincoln–Mercury commercial.
- The ad was conceived by copywriter Janet Champ and art directors Susan Hoffman and Kristi Myers, directed by Peter Kagan and Paula Greif, and edited by Larry Bridges.
- Du Noyer 1996, p. 59.
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- Emerick & Massey 2006, p. 243.
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- Kreps, Daniel (27 February 2009). "The Beatles' Experimental 'Revolution 1 (Take 20)' Surfaces". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Winn 2009, pp. 171–73.
- McKinney, Devin (24 February 2009). "'Revolution 1' in the head". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Winn 2009, p. 173.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 135.
- From Kinfauns to Chaos (Media notes). Beatles. Vigotone. 1999. VT-184.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Winn 2009, p. 180.
- Lewisohn 1988, pp. 136–38.
- Everett 1999, pp. 174–75.
- Lewisohn 1988, pp. 138–39.
- MacDonald 1998, p. 250.
- Womack 2014, pp. 759, 761.
- Lewisohn 2000, pp. 288–89.
- Fortnam 2014, p. 44.
- Unterberger, Richie. "The Beatles 'Revolution'". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- Riley 2011, p. 406.
- Everett 1999, p. 178.
- Emerick & Massey 2006, p. 253.
- MacDonald 1998, p. 259.
- Pollack, Alan W. (1997). "Notes on 'Revolution' and 'Revolution 1'". Soundscapes. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Lewisohn 2000, p. 289.
- Miles 2001, p. 307.
- Turner 2012, p. 248.
- Hertsgaard 1996, p. 249.
- Wenner 2000, p. 110.
- Sheff 2000, p. 187.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 152.
- Schaffner 1978, p. 111.
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